• Matthew Bufton

How film photography has helped me stay positive in isolation.

Keeping energy high during lockdown has been a struggle. Reading, music, creativity and family have all been essential to maintaining a stable and productive mindset.

It is important to try and make the most of this situation, having a definite purpose is what gives meaning to our lives and the inability to progress can give rise to self-doubt and jealousy. It is important to try and find purpose wherever possible to stay afloat. Napoleon Hill uses the example of the mind as a garden, in which weeds will grow in abundance if more desirable seeds are not sewn.

As an aspiring travel photographer with the inability to travel anywhere except Tesco this summer I have definitely fallen susceptible to this. Finding new ways to be productive and creative has been essential to staying positive. I’ve been experimenting with black and white which I’ve really enjoyed because of how it forces you to focus exclusively on the light in a scene. Between my government prescribed hour-long daily walks and moments around the house I’ve managed to create some photos I’m proud of.

Film photography as a medium has been relegated by many to the pass time of beanie wearing hipsters, but it is not as pretentious as it may seem. There is something freeing about only having 36 frames in a roll, it takes the focus off the camera and forces you to be present in the place you are in, only breaking a meditative state of awareness when a moment is too beautiful not to capture. Combine this with travelling in new places and the experience is complete freedom, it has given me a newfound appreciation and connection to the world around me. The ability to create anywhere I go has enriched my life unequivocally.

I’ve also had the time to create a book from photos in South East Asia, which I think is important, modern day consumption of media is so fast paced, but there is a quality and value in slowing down with a photo book that social media can’t provide, it cuts out all the noise and distractions and allows them to be experienced instead of seen.

Deciding how to lay out the photos is an art in itself, creating and maintaining a consistent feeling to the project has taken months; even with film there are so many photos that don’t make the cut, I couldn’t imagine trying to create a project from digital.

I hope this book can help people feel like the world is bigger than the four walls of their house, and I hope it can provide some sanctuary from the thinking mind. It is now available for preorder from my website. Or for more photos follow my Instagram.

Sending blessings to everyone and thanks to the NHS.

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